Puerto Princesa Palawan Paradise

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Puerto Princesa Palawan Paradise. Some mortals claim the Philippines is a heavenly utopia. Paradise, if you will. I retired to this archipelago over seven years ago. Paradise, it ain’t. 

 

PUERTO PRINCESA PALWAN PARADISE

 

 

That said, I’m enjoying a comfortable, relatively stress-free life in Guimaras. Guimaras, an island located in Western Visayas, known for having the sweetest mangoes in the world. It’s the Filipino version of Mayberry RFD. They roll up the sidewalks at 6 pm. The most excitement we have is when a carbao takes a crap on the road and someone accidentally steps in it.

I have extensive experience on “stepping in it” and being “full of it.”

My lovely asawa and I recently traveled to Palawan, home of the world renown Underground River. We had three basic reasons for traveling there:

  1. We wanted to visit my wife’s brother who lives in Taytay, Palawan.
  2. The aforementioned Underground River.
  3. A vacation. Not that I needed one but I felt my spouse did. Being married to me for over 16 years entitles her to multiple vacations in a year.

 

palawan-tricycles
Typical Palawan Tricycles

NO DOGS, NO LITTER

 

 

As soon as we took our first trip through downtown Puterto Princesa my asawa and I both noticed how clean the streets were. In Guimaras, and nearby Iloilo City, where we go shopping, the streets are littered with garbage.

Not so in Puerto Princesa. We traveled via tricycle almost 25 minutes and did not see one single piece of litter on the sidewalks or streets. We both were astonished.

And, we did not spy one single dog on the streets.  Stray dogs are as common in Guimaras and Iloilo as fixers at the Bureau of Customs. I was dumbfounded. We did not encounter one flea-bitten canine until the last night of our stay in Puerto Princesa. It was around 8:00 pm and the lone mutt was eating from a trash dumpster. My wife and I were headed back to our hotel after visiting relatives at the local Robinsons.

I’ve been informed that a city “dog catcher” makes the rounds every day in Puerto Princesa. All stray dogs are impounded for 20 days. If the owner does not claim their canine by then, the dog is euthanized.

A better fate, I suppose, then ending up on someone’s dinner table.

The city dog catcher was probably at home that night watching FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano kicking back with a Red Horse (the beer, that is.) The stray dog I saw that evening would live to see another day.

 

RIDE TO ROBINSONS

 

 

After checking in at Islands Stay Hotel in Puerto Princesa (more on the hotel in a future post), we made our way to our first stop at Robinsons Mall. SM (Shoe Mart) is building a new complex in PP but construction is not completed yet.

Our tricycle driver, seen below, charged us 80 pesos, 1.66 US Dollars, for the 25-minute trip, the going rate. My asawa tipped him a hefty 20 pesos. He was pleased to get the tip.

 

 

trike-driver-palawan

 

 

 

We were going to relax our first day in the city as we had planned a tour to the Underground River the next day. Traffic was snarled in the city. Our trike driver zipped in and out, even going on sidewalks at times to make his way through the congestion.

 

I was later told by one local that the traffic problem in Puerto Princesa has been a recent one. A few years ago there were no car dealerships in town. If you wanted to purchase a new vehicle your only options were to go to Iloilo City or Manila and pay cash, no installment loans were available. You also had to pay for shipping your vehicle to Puerto Princesa, so there were not many private vehicles on the road for years.

But now the local dealerships offer payment options and a person can buy a new vehicle with as little as 6,000 pesos, 125 US Dollars down!

The traffic tip came from an individual who used to work for a collection agency that handled motorcycle repossessions.  A dangerous job at times. One time, an angry individual went after the collector with a bolo! No motorcycle was repossessed that day.

 

 

downtown-puerto-princesa-palawan

 

 

 

ROBINSONS PLACE & MAX’s RESTAURANT

 

We arrived at Robinsons Place and my asawa agreed to pose in front of the mall for me. I always make it a point to have my wife photographed in front of every major mall we go to. It’s a pleasant reminder of various shopping outlets we have visited over the years.

 

 

my-lovely-asawa-at-robinsons-mall-palawan

 

 

maxs-at-robinsons-puerto-princesa

 

 

Also, I usually take a picture of the restaurants we have been to.  The picture above shows my lovely asawa enjoying a half chicken dinner for 299 pesos, about 6.25 US Dollars, at Max’s Restaurant.

The next shot, from the wall of the eatery, shows a menu from 1945.  A half chicken back then cost 2.50 pesos, five cents!

 

 

maxs-restaurant-1945-menu-philippines

 

 

 

I like Max’s chicken. My asawa loves it. KFC still makes my favorite chicken but the offering from Max’s is perfectly acceptable. Here’s a look at what the first Max’s Restaurant in Quezon City looked like.

 

 

maxs-restaurant-1945-menu

 

 

After we had our chicken dinners, accompanied by a small dish of ice cream for dessert, my spouse and I both had manicures and foot spas done. Total price of the package, which included pedicures, was 1,200 pesos, 25 US Dollars.

While back in Guimaras, however, we could have gotten the same package for less than half that price. But since we were on vacation, splurged and spent the extra cash.

We checked out a few shops at Robinsons after our manicures and pedicures and headed home.

Finally, though it was evening, we felt safe riding through the streets of Puerto Princesa, in another tricycle. There are not many taxi cabs in the city and the trikes are a great way to get around.

NEXT UP: OUR TRIP TO THE UNDERGROUND RIVER…OR SO WE THOUGHT

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The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO" OVER 1300 POSTS PUBLISHED SINCE 2009. Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus". He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions. Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 17 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife"'. The couple is based in Guimaras. They have no children but are the proud owners of eight puppies, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer".

15 Replies to “Puerto Princesa Palawan Paradise

  1. Wow, comments again. A few weeks ago my asawa and I took a trip south on 2GO. I was going to tell you how clean I thought Guimaras and Iloilo were compared to up here in Laguna but after reading the above article I will skip that.

  2. Glad you’re having fun in Palawan. We loved it when we were there in April. I don’t know if it is in your plans, but consider going to El Nido. It’s spectacularly beautiful. In fact the long ride there (5 hours) was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken. We also liked the Underground River, but honestly there is a reason Palawan heads lists of the most beautiful islands in the world – see as much of it as you can!

    1. DaveW, we did make a trip to El Nido, more on that later. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore it that day and it was pouring down rain.

      And yes, the drive to El Nido from Puerto Princesa has some spectacular views. I wish we would have more time to explore.

      The Underground River was quite interesting, my wife was enthralled by it. I was happy to not get any bat poop on me. 🙂

  3. Dave,
    Glad to see your long vacation is over lol. Glad to see Palawan is clean. I would probably think because it is a big tourist island has something to do with it. We will be heading back in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to getting back since the weather is getting pretty cool here and it’s Christmas Season. You guy’s got your tree up yet? Also can’t wait to see the changes that Pres Duterte has implemented. Anyway glad to see the comments back.

    1. Good to hear from you, Papa Duck. Palawan is by far the cleanest island I’ve ever seen in over seven years in the Philippines. We’ve had a lot of welcome rain and I have reduced the fan speed in our bedroom from “3” to “2.”

      We will probably put up the Christmas tree the first week of October like we did last year. We need to replace a string of lights we purchased from SM last year. The lights, from China, of course, blew up while on the tree. Fortunately, no fire started. The tree is an artificial one, anyway.

      Btw, Iloilo is going to finally get a S&R store this November. We’ve already signed up for our Gold Membership, 700 pesos.

      Have a safe trip back to the States and take care.

  4. Dave,
    Glad you will be getting an S&R there. I will tell you it’s not hard to spend a lot of money there, but to me its worth it to be able to get the things i want from the States. Make sure you try the pizza on your first trip there. With the holidays coming you will see a lot of new things there.

    1. I’ll be sure to get some pizza, Papa Duck, now that we have an oven. We don’t have any decent pizza joints here in Guimaras. And, we’ll have to get some pumpkin pies there for Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to S&R’s opening.

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